2020 Chevrolet Equinox

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The Car Connection
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Brian León Brian León Contributing Writer
June 17, 2020

Buying tip

Active safety gear is standard for 2020 models, making the base Chevy Equinox L finally worth a look.

features & specs

AWD 4-Door LS w/1LS
AWD 4-Door LT w/1LT
AWD 4-Door LT w/2FL
25 city / 30 hwy
25 city / 30 hwy
25 city / 30 hwy

The 2020 Chevy Equinox shoots right down Main Street for value and features, especially with newly standard active safety equipment.

The 2020 Chevrolet Equinox sits at the intersection of practicality and value. Though it isn’t best in class in any measure, it performs well in safety and has plenty of interior space for growing families; there’s a reason crossover SUVs like the Equinox have replaced mid-size sedans and minivans as the default family vehicle. A balance of style, comfort, and new standard safety tech makes for a strong offering, and makes for a TCC Rating of 6.2 out of 10 overall. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

This year’s Equinox gets a blacked-out Midnight Edition, new exterior colors, and importantly, active safety features as standard including automatic emergency braking.

On its surface, the Equinox won’t turn many heads in the parking lot, but higher-trim models have enough glitz inside and out to merit a nod. We especially like the bright and clear standard infotainment screen mounted front and center, and finished in a brighter hue like orange, the Equinox could be considered a handsome SUV.

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Diesel fans will be disappointed as the turbodiesel is gone for 2020, but two suitable turbocharged gasoline inline-4 engines remain. A 1.5-liter turbo-4 makes 170 horsepower, while a 2.0-liter turbo-4 bumps the power up to 252 hp. Front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is available across the range, and the base engine gets a 6-speed automatic while the upgraded engine gets 9 speeds. The Equinox rides and handles just fine, but even the more powerful engine is light on excitement. We reckon that will be fine with most buyers, though.

Fuel economy is again average, hurt some by the loss of the thrifty diesel model. Average mpg figures range from 24 to 28 mpg combined.

Inside, the Equinox offers average passenger and cargo space for the segment, and its appointments range from bargain basement to near-luxury depending on how much you’re willing to spend. Outward vision is far from perfect, thanks to thick pillars, but a good surround-view camera system on the options list helps mitigate that.

Thanks to many active safety features finally made standard for 2020, the Equinox earns a Top Safety Pick award from the IIHS and great NHTSA crash test scores. Automatic braking, high-beam headlight assist, and active lane control are all part of the Chevy’s standard equipment now, making more affordable models an even better deal this year. Base cars get touchscreen infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility; pricey Equinox crossovers have leather, a sunroof, and 19-inch wheels.


2020 Chevrolet Equinox


The 2020 Chevrolet Equinox isn’t about to offend anyone from a style standpoint, but it won’t excite either.

The 2020 Chevrolet Equinox steers clear of visual excitement. Its straightforward crossover shape, inside and out, leaves no marks—and leaves no impressions. It’s a 5 for styling.

A wide, horizontally split front grille gives the Equinox a familiar Chevy grin, if the big gold bowtie wasn’t enough of a giveaway. It looks like many current crossovers, which that makes it tough to distinguish in a lineup of the competition. Chevy at least offers several real paint colors though, as a bright hue like orange or red really ups the visual intrigue for this otherwise average SUV.

The interior is similarly devoid of distinction, wearing a symmetrical design than emphasizes function over form. Material quality is good on the more expensive modes, and an optional tan upholstery does at least provide some visual contrast, as do select silver and chrome plastic accents around the vents and other materials on the dash.

Review continues below

2020 Chevrolet Equinox


The 2020 Chevrolet Equinox has given up on turbodiesel power, but the turbo-4s that remain are capable.

The 2020 Chevrolet Equinox provides decent power and good ride quality with its turbocharged engines and its compliant suspension. That’s good for 5 out of 10 here.

Gone is the thrifty turbodiesel option for 2020, and while it will be missed in principle, we won’t miss its execution. What remains are two turbocharged inline-4s, a 1.5-liter with 170 horsepower and 203 pound-feet of torque and an optional 2.0-liter with 252 hp and 260 lb-ft. The former comes with a 6-speed automatic transmission, while the latter uses a 9-speed automatic. With front-wheel drive standard and all-wheel drive available, the Equinox is like almost all compact crossover SUVs, emphasizing comfort over excitement.

Ride quality is fine, and though the 9-speed automatic gets easily confused, the optional engine provides more than enough power, while the base turbo-4 is adequate for most needs.

Steering is light but accurate, and models with smaller wheels ride better than those fitted with optional 19-inch rims. Off-road usage is not recommended, but the all-wheel-drive system handles inclement weather well enough.

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2020 Chevrolet Equinox

Comfort & Quality

The 2020 Chevrolet Equinox is plenty practical for cargo and passengers, but doesn’t stand out in terms of comfort or quality.

The 2020 Chevrolet Equinox is a true compact crossover competitor, yielding some comfort and interior space to its larger siblings, the Blazer and Traverse. We give it 7 out of 10 here.

Base L and LS models have a driver seat that unfortunately isn’t height-adjustable, but otherwise, the Equinox is comfortable up front and adequate in back. A sliding second-row from the old Equinox is sorely missed, but the rear bench is suitable for two adults or three kids. Cargo space remains a high point for the Chevy, offering 30 cubic feet behind the rear seats and 63.5 cubes with them folded flat.

While Chevy and the other GM brands have certainly stepped up interior quality in recent years, everything but the top-tier Premier model feels somewhat compromised in terms of material quality. Every upholstery seems worth what Chevy charges for it though, be it the utilitarian base fabric or soft optional leather.

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2020 Chevrolet Equinox


The 2020 Chevrolet Equinox ratchets up safety with newly standard technology.

The 2020 Chevrolet Equinox improves greatly in the safety category for this year, now that Chevy has made active safety tech standard. It’s an 8 for safety.

Though it narrowly missed out last year for its subpar headlights, the 2020 Equinox is a recipient of the IIHS’s vaunted Top Safety Pick award, earning “Good” crash test scores all around and an improved “Acceptable” score for its optional headlights. The NHTSA has similarly good things to say, giving five stars to the Chevy in every crash test category minus rollover rating, a common weak spot for crossover SUVs.

What’s more, Chevy has finally heard our pleas and made active safety tech standard across the lineup. The 2020 standard equipment list includes automatic emergency braking, active lane control, and automatic high-beam headlights. Blind-spot monitors, rear cross-traffic alert, rear park assist, and a surround-view camera system are all still optional on higher-priced models.


2020 Chevrolet Equinox


The 2020 Chevrolet Equinox has gained more standard safety equipment—and has become a better value.

The 2020 Chevrolet Equinox is a better value than ever with active safety tech now standard. We give it 7 out of 10 here; it gains points for infotainment, value, and standard equipment, but loses one for the big step up from base cars into higher-spec models.

Trim levels remain the same for 2020 with L, LS, LT, and Premier, and only a handful of options are added, including a Midnight Edition for the LT that includes big wheels and blacked-out trim, as well as leather seats for the same model and a few new colors to replace outgoing hues.

The L model is a much better deal this year with active safety tech like automatic braking and active lane control standard, but it’s only available in white or silver paint and with front-wheel drive. The base version gets cloth upholstery, power features, manually adjustable seats, and a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Bluetooth compatibility. 

If you’re going to add on features such as 19-inch wheels or a power driver seat, you must pay $2,000 more for the Equinox LS and then pay for those features in option packages. 

Equinox LT models are a gateway to spending more on luxurious options like heated and cooled front seats, a power rear liftgate, bigger alloy wheels, and the more powerful turbo engine, none of which can be had with the L or LS model. For about $32,000, an Equinox LT with the optional Comfort and Convenience package and all-wheel drive seems the best all-around vehicle for the money.

Premier trim Equinox SUVs include leather upholstery and glitzier trim inside and out, automatic dual-zone climate control, and an 8.0-inch infotainment system with the option for navigation. Bose speakers, premium paint shades, 19-inch wheels, a panoramic moonroof, and more. A fully loaded Equinox will set you back more than $40,000 though, so be smart with the options sheet.

Review continues below

2020 Chevrolet Equinox

Fuel Economy

The 2020 Chevrolet Equinox can deliver an EPA-combined 28 mpg.

Fuel economy suffers slightly for the 2020 Chevrolet Equinox following the demise of its turbodiesel engine, but a pair of turbo-4 powerplants do well enough. We give it 5 out of 10. 

The base 1.5-liter turbo-4 Equinox with front-wheel drive makes a respectable 26 mpg city, 31 highway, 28 combined, while all-wheel drive drops those numbers by one each for 25/30/27 mpg, a compromise we’d be willing to make.

Upgrading to the more powerful 2.0-liter engine comes with a penalty, naturally, and brings figures down to 22/29/25 mpg for front-wheel drive and 22/28/24 mpg for all-wheel drive, as well as an increased fuel cost of $500-600 per year thanks to a requirement for premium fuel.

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Styling 5
Performance 5
Comfort & Quality 7
Safety 8
Features 7
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